Podcasts are growing in popularity. It is said that there are 500,000+ podcasts to listen to. But what is a podcast? AND, how would you make money from being a podcaster?
Well, A podcast is an audio recording, often with one or more people speaking, that is created in an episodic format to discuss a certain topic or theme.
It isn’t the same as radio where you may call in and speak with the DJ on a certain topic but is delivered on-demand instead. That means each new podcast episode may be available each week or each month.
Typically, podcasts created today are audio only, but there are cases when video podcasts are used too.
A video podcast is simply where you watch the person, or people, speaking the podcast episode from wherever they may be.
That’s why an audio podcast is so much more convenient. You can listen to it from practically anywhere.
Steps to be a Podcaster
If you want to be a podcaster, the steps to do it aren’t that difficult. In fact, anyone can be a podcaster because you don’t need any special equipment to get started.
The biggest hurdle for most people is simply deciding what they will talk about.
As a rule of thumb, you should talk about things you know or are passionate about.
So, for example, if you have a side business creating clothing for pets, then you can make that the topic of your podcast.
You can also invite guests to be on your podcast.
This is useful if you want subject matter experts on your show or even inviting a friend to share their point of view with your listeners.
It’s up to you to decide whether you want your show to be just you as a host or if you will have several people as the co-hosts with you.
To start with, your podcast can be just you talking. But it helps to add some intro music or outro music to increase the production value.
This is not needed to start with, and it depends on how frequently you decide to release each podcast episode. The additional work required to create these assets for your podcast can take time.
So, you need to plan for it.
Once you have created your podcast, you can then upload it to iTunes or Google to share it with the world and start building up your fan base.
What equipment do you need to start a podcast?
It’s recommended to use a quiet area. Take some time to plan where that may be. It has to be somewhere you can safely record without any interruption.
You will also need a laptop or computer with audio recording software installed.
Any general laptop or desktop should suffice, but we recommend a laptop because it allows you to take it and record a podcast wherever you go and as soon as the inspiration hits you.
You can also usually fit your laptop and microphone into one laptop bag for easy storage.
You will also need a basic microphone to create your first podcast episode.
As you progress, you should start to think about audio quality and perhaps invest in a high-quality USB microphone later on.
There are many affordable brands out there that can provide you with a microphone to meet your budget and computer requirements.
You should also purchase a microphone guard to eliminate recording popping sounds as you speak, which will help you reduce editing time.
How to record a podcast
Recording a podcast is straightforward. Make sure that you have a quiet area where you can record. That is perhaps the most important thing, besides the microphone you choose.
You can then use programs such as GarageBand on MacOS or Audacity on Windows to record your podcast.
Both tools are free to download and use and are capable to get you started on your podcast journey.
Make sure that whatever program you use to record your podcast picks up your microphone properly and that the volume level of your microphone isn’t too high.
You may also want to disable your computer sounds so that just your voice is recorded.
Then fire up your program, create a new file, click record, and start talking.
You should see your voice appear on the screen as waveforms as you talk. When you have finished speaking, stop recording and save the file to your computer.
That’s all there is to recording a podcast.
How to edit a podcast
Editing a podcast is what arguably takes the most time.
It’s natural for you to make mistakes as you talk, and editing is the best time to correct those mistakes.
To cut down on editing time, you can keep a notepad close by with bullet points to remind you of the contents of the episode you are going to be talking about.
This helps you keep your train of thought and makes sure that the episode flows smoothly from one topic to the next.
You can also think of investing in a second monitor for your computer and using teleprompter software on it to display your podcast episode script, making it easier for you to record each episode without any errors.
When it comes to editing your podcast, cut out any parts where there is unnecessary hissing or popping from your voice or unneeded microphone feedback.
This can happen if you speak too close to the microphone—it just takes practice.
Any time that you say the wrong word or pronounce a word unclearly, you can cut it out, and then you can re-record that part and insert the new part into the original project timeline.
Editing is the most time-consuming part of creating any podcast. Perhaps that is why many podcasts—even popular ones—follow a ‘warts and all’ process and make it authentic by leaving in any mistakes and just going with it.
Whether or not you do this depends on your audience. Some people like the authenticity, but others may prefer a more polished podcast.
How to add a podcast to Apple podcasts
Now that you have recorded your first podcast episode, you need to get it out there for people to listen to.
First, we will start with how to do that for Apple podcasts, or iTunes.
To get your podcast on to iTunes, you must make sure you have an Apple ID created. If not, you can do that from Apple’s Apple ID site itself.
You also need to make sure you have a title and description for your podcast and its episode content to motivate people to listen to it when they search for other podcasts with the same topic as yours.
Having some artwork and setting up the right category for your podcast can also help your podcast get noticed.
So can adding tags, such as the language of the podcast, whether it contains explicit language or not, and the topic.
To reach a wider audience, it’s recommended to create a clean and family-friendly podcast.
Apple actually has an entire specification list for what they expect each podcast episode to look like in terms of formatting, title, description, etc., created for you.
It’s recommended that you search that out and read it to make sure that your podcast and subsequent episodes meet Apple’s podcast standards.
Before you can get it on iTunes, you will need to upload your podcast to a podcast hosting platform.
This is because iTunes simply validates that you have uploaded your podcast and then pulls the details from where you hosted it to display your podcast and episodes within iTunes.
iTunes doesn’t actually host your podcast itself.
There are lots of different podcast hosting sites out there, but many of them require a monthly subscription payment.
So, if you just want to test the waters of your podcast at no cost, you can use SoundCloud.
Just create an account with them and then upload your podcast. Once that is finished, you can use your SoundCloud URL within Apple when submitting your podcast to iTunes, and then Apple should use that as your podcast feed URL.
As part of the podcast submission process, your podcast feed URL will be verified first. When you post it to appear on iTunes, it will need approval. This may take several days to be completed, so please be patient.
After Apple has done their magic, your podcast will be listed on iTunes, but it’ll always be hosted on SoundCloud or whatever podcast host you chose. You can decide to move to a better podcast hosting platform later once your podcast takes off and you start gaining more listeners.
How to add a podcast to google podcasts
Adding a podcast to Google Podcasts is pretty much the same process as adding it to iTunes. First, make sure you have a podcast host with your podcast episodes uploaded there.
Then, make an account on Google Play’s podcast portal and paste in the feed URL of your podcast from your podcast host. This is the same process as iTunes. Instead, you just swap out logging in to iTunes with logging in to Google Play instead.
Once you have logged in to Google Play, enter the details of your podcast and the URL of where it is hosted and submit it to be approved. This process, like with iTunes, may take a few days to complete.
How to make money with a podcast
Now that you have recorded your podcast, edited it, and uploaded it to the podcast platform of your choice, you may be wondering how you can make money from it.
You can work on creating relationships with advertisers related to your podcast. You promote their products on your show, and they pay you a small commission.
You can also get your podcast sponsored. That means that you get paid based on the number of times your podcast episode is downloaded by others. Typically, this is rated based on 1,000 downloads or more at a time. Many popular podcasts use this method, along with advertising, to make money.
You can also invite A-list podcast stars as guests on your show. This is where networking with people who also create podcasts is important. You may not earn any money directly from having these people on your show, but these relationships do increase your credibility with your listeners. You may get fans of your guests subscribing to you and downloading your show. That can definitely earn you more money if you have a sponsorship.
You can also promote products that you already use. For example, if you do a tech podcast, you may want to promote the manufacturer who made your laptop or your microphone to your listeners. If you do this well enough and gain enough followers, then the manufacturers themselves may also offer to sponsor your show directly.
You could also think about having people sign up for your podcast. This is usually done by having your own website where your listeners can pay a small monthly fee to receive exclusive extras (you’d need to think about what your extras would be).
The more people sign up, the more downloads of your podcast you get, the more money you make, and so on. But you will have to factor in the time and money for building your website.
You could also think about expanding your podcast into audiobooks. All you would do is take parts of your podcast and refashion them in such a way that they are now suited for the audiobook format instead. Many popular podcast creators have gone down this path as a way of making extra money from their podcasts, and you can do it as well.
You can join up with a platform such as Patreon and ask your listeners for donations. You create pledges for your audience that they would then fund. The money you make from this you use to make your podcast even better. This could be upgrading your audio recording equipment, for example.
Crowdfunding is a profitable way to make money from your podcast, but like the other options mentioned here, it takes a lot of hard work to start off, and you have to remember that you may not get success immediately.
It takes time to create a well-polished podcast and a dedicated fan base. But it is doable, and you can have a lot of fun with it along the way.
Hopefully, for all of you who are thinking about creating a podcast, this article has helped you take the first step into making that dream a reality. Good luck!